How Many Christmas Gifts per Child?

Kids Gifts for Christmas

Christmas can be a challenging time full of expectations and excitement and a minefield of potential disappointments no matter what age you are.

Deciding on Christmas presents, especially for children, can be harder than you might imagine. There's your budget to consider, of course, their wish list and expectations, and the fact that once you have children you are melding two sets of family traditions.

Some parents feel it's important for kids to have lots of presents to open on Christmas day while others feel the opposite. Too many Christmas gifts can be overwhelming and lead to children expecting a certain number of gifts each year. While a child getting just 1 or 2 gifts might not understand why they are getting less even if that single gift has a greater value.

Parenting is a minefield and Christmas is no exception. Then there's also the question of stockings.

Christmas Stockings - Santa's role in gift giving

In some houses Santa brings a stocking full of little Christmas gifts that are opened on Christmas morning, in some he'll bring a bigger gift (instead of or as well depending on your tradition) and in others, Father Christmas is responsible for all the gifts.

While this is obviously completely down to personal preference it might be worth considering the fact that children will talk at school. While some parents will spend a lot on their kids, others won't. Either by choice or because they can't afford to. And that's fine. Kids can understand that some parents have more money or families have different traditions.

But the magical figure that is Santa Clause, who only comes if you're good. Why would he bring some kids a computer and a new bike and other children a book and some new pyjamas?

So why not let Santa take care of the small stuff, the things he can make in his workshop and carry on his sleigh, and take a bit of credit for the rest of the Christmas gifts.

The 4 gift rule

In an attempt to limit the number of Christmas gifts some parents are choosing to adopt the 4 gift rule with their children:

  • Something you WANT,

  • Something you NEED,

  • Something to WEAR,

  • Something to READ,

It's certainly not for everyone but might be a good starting point. And you could equally limit the number of Christmas gifts without having the specifications of want, need, wear, read.

Setting a budget

Setting a budget is probably something you do anyway but as kids get older sharing this budget can help them make the connection between the things they want and the number of Christmas gifts they are getting. And you'll probably find they would rather have that 1 big-ticket item they've been craving than lots of individual Christmas gifts to open Christmas morning.

Christmas Traditions

The other thing to consider is Christmas traditions and how many of them include Christmas gifts. Do you have a Christmas eve box? Do you have Christmas treats and outings that involve buying ornaments or other Christmas gifts? Do you give Christmas gifts on multiple days over the holiday season?

When you give Christmas gifts can be as much of a question as to how many you give. Especially when joining families that have different traditions.

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